Sixty-four-year old Rita Weschenbach staged her protest in an allotment amongst her kiwi plants and beehives. She planted a wooden sign. “Property sharks are stealing my garden. They’re clearing land for construction.” Although the quiet allotment outside Hamburg smells like apple trees now, excavators will soon change that. They will clear the space currently used by 330 allotments, as part of a plan to build 1,400 new apartments.
The same drama is taking place up and down the country as renters fight landlords, city planners oppose investors, and ecowarriors fight evictions. The German government is planning to cap rental prices to keep living space affordable. But this week they agreed that this regulation does not apply to new homes, so investors continue to build.
While the German population overall isn’t growing very fast, in many urban areas rents are rising rapidly, because young people are rushing to live in the cities.